This is my all-time favorite soup. Unlike many chain restaurants' (and I have tried many chain restaurants' French Onion Soup), this soup base is a delicate clear liquid. It's heavenly.
You will need:
2 white or yellow onions
4 stems fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1/4 c. olive oil
1 box of chicken broth (or 4 c. homemade stock)
1/2 cup dry white wine **Note: you can also use beef broth and beer in place of the chicken broth and wine.** It’s a slightly heartier taste.
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 slices of French bread (large baguette or sourdough)
8 slices of baby Swiss cheese (or Gruyere)
Large heavy skillet or stock pot
4 Oven-proof bowls
Step 1: Peel
Peel the onions and cut them in half, then into 1/4-inch slices.
Step 2: Sweat
Sweat the onions, thyme, bay leaves and olive oil over medium-low heat in a large, heavy skillet, until the onions are tender. Go slow, and don't burn the onions. This will take about 45 min. Remove the thyme and bay leaf.
Step 3: Meanwhile...
Meanwhile, bake the slices of French bread at 200 deg., turning occasionally, until crispy but not golden.
Step 4: Simmer
When the onions are done cooking, add the wine (or beer) to the pan, increase heat to medium-high, and simmer until reduced by half. Add the broth, and simmer for 15 min, stirring occasionally.
Step 5: Ladle
To serve, place the bowls on a baking sheet. Ladle the soup into the bowls, dividing it evenly. Top each with a slice of toast, and two slices of cheese. Make sure the cheese touches the edges of the bowl slightly.
Step 6: Broil
Broil in oven until the cheese is melted. If your oven does not have a broil setting, bake at 400 deg. for about 10 min.
Serve immediately. 4 servings.